Glenavon ‘crus-ed’ into the last semi-finals of the Irish Cup after avoiding a potential banana skin against Championship side Loughgall.
Goals from Declan O’Brien and Andy McGrory, with a reply from Stuart Mallen for the visitors, set up a repeat of the 2014 semi-final between Gary Hamilton’s side and Crusaders, which Glenavon went on to win before eventually going on to lift the cup.
Assistant manager, Paul Millar, said he was delighted to be in the last four, but admitted that his team made hard work of their win.
He said: “We’re into the semi-final, we’re one of only four teams in the country who will be there so we’re delighted.
“It wasn’t what you would call a vintage performance but to be fair to Loughgall they went down to 10 men, made it hard for us and defended well.
“I thought we could have been three or four goals up inside the first 10 minutes, but then they came into it a bit.
“We went a goal up just before half time and if we had gone two up we could have pushed on a wee bit. Loughgall came back into it, scored a goal, but we held on. They didn’t really put us under any pressure at all - I think Jonny Tuffey had one shot on target to save all day.
“It was comfortable enough but it certainly wasn’t vintage.”
The hosts were watched by their new signing, Ian Morris, whose capture was confirmed prior to kick-off.
The midfielder, who can also play in defence, was last with St Pat’s Athletic but has made over 200 appearances in the Football League for Blackpool, Scunthorpe, Chesterfield, Torquay and Northampton Town.
Loughgall boss, Gerard Boyle, was magnanimous in defeat.
“At the end of the day we can’t complain. I think the lads gave a good account of themselves, especially in the second half.
“Early on in the game we maybe didn’t play to our potential.”
Our passing wasn’t as good as it could have been and we were maybe a bit nervy with the occasion.
“In the second half we got the ball down, moved it about a bit and gave a good account of ourselves so I can only be happy.”
He felt his team had done well to survive Glenavon’s early pressure, adding: “In the first five minutes there must have been 10 corners and [plenty of] free kicks whipped in, so it was nervy but I always knew that if we could just weather the storm I was confident that we could take things from there.”